Nandini Nayak

Ensure brand loyalty by measuring love

Technology has given brands the opportunity to become more directly woven into the fabric of our lives through the increasingly personal moments we have with them. Due to digitization, brand moments can now happen anytime, anywhere. We can order coffee through a Starbucks app, or make a flight reservation while listening to a podcast, or check the order status for a dress we selected yesterday.

Every moment counts, and brands will only be successful if they count the success of each and every one of these moments.

To date, most brands have focused on measuring overall loyalty (i.e. what are the odds you will stick with a brand and recommend it to friends?) through scores like the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which at an aggregate level, provide a method to predict future sales and revenue. While this is certainly helpful and important, these measures don’t account for why customers are loyal. More to the point, they’re not diagnostic or rich enough in terms of understanding the overall emotional quality of an experience.

This nuance can spell the difference between brand success and failure. Blame it on the digital age, but continually changing customer expectations has not only impacted what products and services people like and want, but also how they want to engage with and receive these things. Today, it’s all about the experience, and that’s where scores like NPS break down.

As brands look to digitally transform their business models, they will be increasingly challenged to find richer measures that are both predictive of value and diagnostic of where gaps may exist in maintaining relationships. What if brands could accurately measure customer engagement and compare it to pacesetters in their industry, and beyond? What if they could better understand their areas of relative strength and weakness and create an actionable plan for improvement?

Now they can.

Enter The Love Index, a method developed by Fjord to measure brand love at key moments, works on the premise that what sustains love for people in human relationships is not dissimilar to what sustains love for brands. The goodness of a relationship with another person anchors on a series of key moments that either strengthens or weakens the relationship – this is the same with brand experience moments.


Here’s how it works.

First, The Love index anchors on five key dimensions – Fun, Relevant, Engaging, Social and Helpful – that together help determine what drives a customer’s love. We discovered these “FRESH” dimensions through detailed ethnographic research followed by quantitative survey research. The figure below shows how these apply to leading services. As expected, Google is great on Relevant, but falls short on Fun and Social, while Facebook is great on Social but falls short on Relevant or Engaging. Does this matter? It depends. If another Search Engine came along that focused on being as Relevant as Google, but also more Fun and Social, that might disrupt Google.


Second, we believe brand affinity is a summation of the experiences we have across key interaction moments. A key interaction moment (for example, booking a hotel or airline; or for an online retailer, whether the user accepted the recommended add-on to the cart) is one that determines whether the experiencer will continue the experience. The Love Index can be used to diagnose how a brand fares in delivering a loveable experience at those key moments, which helps identify how that moment fared across the dimensions relative to competitors and experience leaders. By measuring key experience moments through the dimensions that drive love, The Love Index helps brands get a more nuanced understanding of what customers value. And that means brands can more accurately fine-tune their total customer experience to be delivered in ways that look beyond sales numbers to continually drive engagement and happy experiences for people.

That’s a good thing.


Third, The Love Index scores can be used to predict how dimensional score improvements can lift up experience outcome measures like loyalty or satisfaction. Let’s say that a brand is equal to or ahead of its competitors in delivering experience moments that are Engaging and Relevant, but lagging on Social, Helpful and Fun. The Love index research can help predict whether improvements in these dimensions will drive loyalty or satisfaction, thereby helping make business decisions on whether to invest or not. When applied as a continuous improvement measure at key moments that matter, The Love Index provides a method to uncover how brand relationships develop over time and diagnose what needs to be fixed with an eye toward predicting what the most valuable improvements might be.

This is also a good thing.

Last, but not least, the Love index helps bring a more analytical foundation to describing the design problem. By including the Love index research into the discovery process, designers can take a focused approach to the competitive and heuristic analyses suggesting what dimensions should be a priority. It also enables design ideation to be focused around the prioritized dimensions.

A Love Index assessment applied to key moments that matter provides a baseline that allows both business and design decisions to be outcome focused. By using it as an ongoing measure, a brand can do more – and can better ensure loyalty.

Nandini Nayak

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